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Have big ideas? Tempe is offering $500K for innovators

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LISTEN: Tempe will pay you big money for your big ideas

PHOENIX — Tempe wants to hand you a share of $500,000 — and all you have to do to get it is come up with a great idea.

Tempe created an innovation fund to inspire people to figure out ways of making the hometown of Arizona State University more innovative, sustainable, recyclable and efficient.

“Tempe’s known for innovation, ideas come to fruition in Tempe that just don’t happen in other places,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. “[One] idea that came about — Tempe Town Lake.”

Municipal innovation is something common in Tempe, according to Mitchell. He pointed to a unique composting program underway, which turns green landscaping waste into fertilizer for parks and green spaces. The move keeps tons of recyclable green waste out of the city’s landfill.

Taking a cue from Los Angeles, Tempe’s City Council then created the innovation fund.

“We put $500,000 aside to give individuals and organizations the opportunity to fund ideas, programs or products that could make our city more efficient, more sustainable or just better,” Mitchell said.

The fund is open to anyone, whether they live in Tempe or not, as long as it fits within the goals of improving life in the city of Tempe.

Need inspiration? Mitchell suggested, “Art that creates energy, new devices that could power Wi-Fi, recycling technology that could keep things out of our landfills, maybe cyber-security that could protect our data and there’s so much more!”

This is a one-time opportunity. Mitchell said once the money is gone, it’s gone.

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